SC: Climate and Security- joint Nordic statement

Joint statement by the Nordic Countries submitted to the open debate on the 'Maintenance of international peace and security: Climate and Security', 23 September 2021.

Mr. President,

Members of the Security Council,

I have the pleasure of submitting this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Thank you to Ireland for hosting today’s debate and to the Secretary-General and Ms. Ilwad Elman for your statements.

We welcome today’s timely debate on climate and security. Addressing climate-related security risks is key to sustaining peace and avoiding humanitarian disasters. We fully support the Security Council’s strengthened focus on the issue. Today’s open debate presents a great opportunity to discuss how we can move from talk to action. We need to act now to tackle climate change-related security risks.

The research paints a clear picture. Climate change is a risk multiplier. This is especially true in fragile states and for vulnerable populations that already bear the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change. While fragile states often suffer the hardest consequences, it is incumbent upon us all to counter climate change. This requires global action and a renewed collective commitment to multilateral solutions. This is the only way we can address complex transnational challenges, such as pandemics and climate change, and mitigate their potential impact on conflict and insecurity. Allow me to share four additional observations.

First, context-specific analysis will be a key part of the answer moving ahead. Climate change affects countries and regions in different ways in various parts of the world. Changes in rainfall is disrupting food production – either through drought or flooding. Small island states face an existential threat of drowning. Societies and regions also differ in their resources, capacities and readiness to respond to these challenges. It is therefore imperative that we have a comprehensive understanding of the situation on the ground. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. This requires strengthened cooperation with civil society, weather services and regional and sub-regional actors on climate-sensitive analysis and early warning systems. In short, we must improve our understanding of the specific situation on the ground, including through improved climate scenarios for the medium and long term, with the help of partners, to anticipate and mitigate climate-related security threats.

Secondly, finding solutions to climate-related security risks is complex and requires a whole-of-society approach. We need to draw on all tools, capacities and expertise at our disposal. To do so, we need a networked and inclusive multilateralism, in which the entire UN family, regional organizations, civil society organizations, and the private sector, work together. Climate change must be taken seriously and be addressed as a security issue, and it must be fully integrated into the work of UN peacekeeping and special political missions on the ground. The Nordic countries are exploring the possibility of funding climate security advisors to UN peacekeeping and special political missions. We hope this will strengthen the capacity to address climate-related security risks in such missions, and that it will allow the Security Council and the wider UN family to better understand the implications of climate change on security and conflict. To this end, we will also continue to support the important work of the Climate Security Mechanism as well as research carried out on the topic, such as in the newly established Nordic-Baltic expert network.

Third, to succeed, solutions to tackle climate-related security risks must take a bottom-up approach. We must engage civil society, women, and youth in the process of finding and implementing solutions. We know that societies are more resilient when human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. Advancing implementation of the Women, Peace and Security-agenda must be a priority. Whether in analysis or policy frameworks, funding modalities or political negotiations, we should always strive for approaches and processes that are comprehensive, inclusive and just. When addressing climate change as a risk-multiplier, it is therefore important for the Council to listen to and engage more with civil society, not least women’s and girls’ organizations. Applying a gender-transformative approach to climate and security interventions is crucial.

Lastly, but not least, protecting, restoring and sustainably managing the environment is fundamental. Environmental degradation and biodiversity loss are important drivers of insecurity and conflict around the world, and rising rates of degradation and loss are increasingly impacting global peace and security. Moreover, climate- and nature-related risks to global peace and security overlap and are mutually reinforcing. As they cannot be fully addressed independently from one another, solutions are equally interconnected: climate-related security risks can be reduced by actions to protect, restore and sustainably manage ecosystems that allow them to keep providing vulnerable populations with food, water and energy, enabling climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

How we systematically act upon the risks of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation today will not only build resilience of fragile societies but determine the prospects for peaceful societies and human security for millions of people in the coming decades. Fragile regions and vulnerable communities suffer the most severe impact, but addressing the problem and finding the solution is a collective responsibility. It requires cooperation, renewed multilateralism and solidarity. As we continue to respond to the crises that unfold across the world, this is our opportunity to build back better and greener for a sustainable, climate resilient and peaceful future in full support of the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the Decade of Action.

Thank you.